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18 June 2012, 06:00
Part of Bury St Edmunds town centre is still sealed off after a serious fire at a restaurant on Saturday night.
The fire, which was reported to Suffolk Fire and Rescue at just before 9pm Saturday night, started in the cellar of the five storey building and quickly spread to other parts of the premises.
The building, which was built in the 1600's and grade one listed had only recently reopened as a restaurant following refurbishment.
Once the fire had taken hold there was significant structural collapse to the rear of the premises which has now partly collapsed. The now unsupported front side of the building has buckled and is in an unsafe position resulting in the area having to be closed off.
Around 120 people inside the restaurant at the time the fire started and were all safely evacuated by the time firefighters arrived.
At the height of the fire 14 fire appliance,s two high reach ariel appliance, and around 80 fire fighters from across Suffolk were on scene.
Around 25 firefighters and 4 fire appliances continued to tackle the fire on Sunday and it is anticipated that the Fire and Rescue Service will remain at the scene into the early part of this week, to protect neighbouring buildings and to put out deep seated pockets of fire in the collapsed structure.
Work is already underway with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Strada, the owner of the building and neighbouring businesses to deal with the longer term consequences of the fire.
County Councillor Colin Spence, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said:
"This is a real tragedy and an iconic building has been very badly damaged by this fire. This is undoubtedly devastating for local people, visitors and the town as a whole. I am grateful that the immediate action of Strada staff ensured that everyone was evacuated safely and quickly and the professional and swift action of firefighters stopped the fire spreading to neighbouring properties."Due to the severity of the fire and the collapse of the building, a number of restrictions have been put in place to ensure that members of the public are not put at risk - I'd like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding. We are working with colleagues from St Edmundsbury Borough Council to ensure that disruption to businesses, residents and visitors is kept to an absolute minimum."
Information from the Police regarding ongoing road closures: